Border reopening: New data places Australia last on Londoners’ travel list
Australia is now ranked last on tourist destinations for it’s treatment of people and the heavy handedness of police
A new $56 million campaign and a bold 30-second Super Bowl stunt appears to be falling flat for Australia’s tourism sector, new data has revealed.
As borders finally begin to open to the rest of the world, Aussies could be fooled into believing an immediate influx of tourists will flood Down Under.
However, recent data suggests otherwise.
As borders open up for the first time in two years, thousands from some of Australia’s biggest touring nations have admitted it’s the last place they want to be.
Despite Tourism Australia forking out some $56 million on an advertising campaign to encourage tourists from the UK, United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada to come and visit, data given to The Sydney Morning Herald showed there was little interest in our previously locked-down nation.
The tourism campaign kicked off earlier this week, running across TV, print, digital and social media channels and featuring our most iconic destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Uluru.
But after splashing out on assets including a digital billboard at Piccadilly Circus in London, it appears the “Come and say G’day” is falling flat.
Respondents to a recent survey held in London revealed Brits overwhelmingly ranked Australia last among their desired holiday destinations, placing Down Under behind North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
The study conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies revealed 64 per cent of 1500 UK residents polled knew Australia was opening its gates to tourists once again, but only a tiny portion admitted they were interested in visiting.
Brits are apparently not keen on Aussie travel. Picture: Gaye Gerard/NCA Newswire
Travellers will have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of their departure. Prime Minister Scott Morrison reminded all incoming travellers they will be denied entry if they are not double-vaccinated.
This immediately followed updated guidelines from the TGA to change the definition of fully vaccinated to “up to date” to align with the nation’s third-shot booster rollout.
It came after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was accused of dealing a “crippling blow” to the tourism sector after he told international travellers hoping to visit the state they would need to be triple-dosed.
“To now have this sort of uncertainty cast across it is going to be a crippling blow to businesses that have been on their knees for two years now … (they) finally saw light at the end of the tunnel and now, of course, they’ve got this sort of uncertainty,” Finance Minister Simon Birmingham told the Today show.
There has been ‘significant spike’ in bookings and searches since the government’s border announcement, but new data out of the UK suggests Australia will be fighting hard for tourism.
The ‘Don’t Go Small. Go Australia’ campaign will be rolled out into markets across the globe including in the US, the UK and Asia.
Mr Morrison addressed Australia’s reopening at the National Security Council this week.
“We have been progressively opening our borders since November of last year,” Mr Morrison said, in reference to Australia’s travel bubbles with New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and South Korea as well as its opening up to international students, backpackers and economic migrants.
“That will now be extended, principally, to international visitors who will be able to return. The condition is you must be double vaccinated to come to Australia. That’s the rule. Everyone is expected to abide by it.
“Your visa is one thing, but your entry into Australia requires you also to be double vaccinated. And I think events earlier in the year should have sent a very clear message, I think, to everyone around the world that that is the requirement to enter into Australia.”
It appears in the eyes of many overseas, Australia’s carefree reputation has been tarnished, with the country now becoming the unlikely poster boy for overreaching coronavirus legislation.
Speaking with Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying’s Dark Horse podcast, South Australian politician Alex Antic said the stringent measures, coupled with Western Australia’s insistence to keep its borders clamped shut in a last-ditched attempt at Covid-zero, has seriously affected the country’s reputation on a global scale.
“The things that are happening in Australia are very real and concerning,” he said. “The liberal democracy that is Australia is alive and well, but we have to make sure we keep talking about the chipping away of the fabric of this nation, because it is very alarming.”
However, despite the growing anti-Australia sentiment bubbling amongst alternative media platforms in the US, polling out of the UK suggests new travellers are mostly put off by high prices and coronavirus uncertainty, as opposed to legislation in place to combat the virus.
While many overseas claim Australia’s reputation has been damaged by its reaction to the Covid-19 panic, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan says the US is still ‘very keen’ to get back Down Under.
For many, a trip to Australia means more than 20 hours on flights with at least one layover.
The Redfield & Wilton Strategies suggested that Australia’s Covid-19 restrictions “had not turned off the British” with only 10 per cent saying it had hurt the country’s appeal as a travel location.
It comes as Trade and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan endorsed a decision to spend $6.5 million on a 30-second Super Bowl ad promoting travel to Australia, claiming Americans are “very keen” to get into Australia.
“I‘ve got to say everything we’re hearing back is that people are keen to travel and the demand for Australia is very strong,” he told Sky News Australia.
“I was over in the US last year in the heart of the pandemic, the heart of the lockdown in Victoria and I can tell you even then the US were very keen to get back to Australia.
“They love Australia, they love what we‘ve got to offer, they know we’re a warm, welcoming, open people, they know we’re safe, we’ve got wonderful attractions.”
WA move forces big Qantas changeAustralia woos the world with big budget ad
Qantas Domestic and International CEO Andrew David also stoked the tourism fire, claiming there had been a “significant spike” in bookings and searches since the government’s border announcement.
“Bookings are strongest out of the US and UK and we’ve also seen spikes from South Africa, India and Canada, with March, April and May the most popular months for travel,” he said.